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Museum garden 'worth the wait'

October 30, 2005|By MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is known for its priceless treasures - more than 6,000 objects ranging from collections by Old Masters to modern sculpture.

On Saturday afternoon, its newest treasure was unveiled - a peaceful and inviting garden just a stone's throw from the museum's front door.

A dedication ceremony for the Anne G. and Howard S. Kaylor Lakeside Garden was the finale of a 20-month project that started as an idea and now is an invigorating addition to Hagerstown City Park, said Joseph Ruzicka, director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

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The garden was made possible by Hagerstown residents Anne and Howard Kaylor, who not only underwrote the project, but were the driving forces behind its completion, Ruzicka said.

According to Ruzicka, the project was 74 years in the making.

"When plans were originally drawn up for the museum, there were instructions for an architecturally-designed space," he said. "But for whatever reason, it never happened. So today is such an important day in the museum's history. It was well worth the wait."

Ruzicka credits Howard Kaylor, who serves on the museum's board of directors, with providing the will and vision to get the project done.

"He saw a need and had the desire to see it through," he said.

The garden was designed by area landscaper Donna Brightman, who donated her work, Ruzicka said.

A new pathway from the museum parking lot leads visitors to the garden, which features a brick patio encircled by greenery. The area is open to the public and also will be used by the museum for social events.

"We really want the public to visit the garden," Ruzicka said. "Come sit, read a book, have lunch or just enjoy the view, which is wonderful."

Ruzicka noted that with the recent renovations to City Park by the City of Hagerstown, "we thought it would be an appropriate gesture for us to make improvements to the museum's front lawn. The garden really finishes the landscape."

"I'm extremely pleased about today," Howard Kaylor said. "After so many years of false starts, we finally have a garden."

Kaylor said the project entailed a lot of work and a lot of hurdles to overcome, "but I'm pleased with the end result. I think it turned out well."

Following remarks by Ruzicka, the ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting by the Kaylors and the release of 12 white doves. A reception followed in the museum.

The dedication ceremony was co-sponsored by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and The Herald-Mail Co.

Ruzicka said preliminary planning for and preparation of the garden was made possible by the Groh Family and the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust.

"From the cooperation of the city and county to the generosity of contractors, it was truly a great community effort," he said. "I hope the public will now visit the museum and park and enjoy the beautiful new garden."

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